Blog & News

A BIG 'thank you' to all Penda math & science teachers. The Penda team honors your dedication & unwavering commitment to our education profession.

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Recently, seventh grade students in Mrs. Geisbush's classes at North East ISD STEM Academy were asked their opinion about Penda Learning. Here's what they had to say:

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"I REALLY like how in Penda you can compete with your classmates. We race to see who can get the most points and all the time we are learning!" - James

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A Good Luck Wish From Penda Learning...

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Penda Learning wishes math/science students academic success as schools across the nation gear up to administer high-stakes assessments this month. Good luck!

Heading to the Florida Association of Science Supervisors Conference in Orlando, FL? Let us know by tweet, email, or call. We'd love to connect with you and introduce you to Penda Learning and our team!

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Be sure to check out Penda's monthly eNewsletter for April, 2017 - hot off the press! Read about Penda's new product features, enhancements, content, implementation ideas, teacher spotlight.

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Lots of teachers write in to ask about how they can create student incentives and challenges to help drive usage and get maximum results with students using Penda. Penda's Implementation & Support Services Team put together some simple DOs and DONTs to support teachers (and schools) in executing successful student competitions/challenges.

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DOs:

- Student Choice - keep in mind that while some students are extrinsically motivated, other students are driven intrinsically so striking a balance is key! Give students a choice to opt in or out for a competition/challenge. Not all students are motivated by peer competition, but might still want to have their own independent competition - comparing their progress and scores against top performing students.

- Know Your Penda Data - take time to explore your teacher account to fully understand what data is available to you through the leaderboard (class and student tab) and via detailed Report views. This preparation will help you implement and execute your competition/challenge with ease and avoid frustration when it comes to pulling or analyzing data - there's nothing worse than starting a competition/challenge, only to realize you can't get the data you were hoping or wanting. For example, the leaderboard class points tab resets each month to promote competition, while the student tab shows total points earned by students since the beginning of the academic year. Currently, class points are not logged for each month, and date range filters cannot be applied. Thus, teachers must export class points on the last day on the month before the class tabs reset, if they wish to use this data.

- Quality Over Quantity! In using Penda, the goal is for students to complete the activities with accuracy, so be sure to frame your challenge/competition around completing activities with a minimum score of X% (we recommend 80%). Create a competition that focuses on "green activities" (green = mastery, 80%+).

- Whole Picture - consider holistic usage, taking into consideration task hours, average score on review activities, amount of time outside of school (4:00pm - 7:00am) **since it's outside of school, this truly is independent practice, total class points as presented on the leaderboard at the given time. Items 1, 2, and 3 listed can be found easily through your teacher account under "Reports - detailed," using the yellow status bar across the top of right pane.

- Stick To The Plan - develop a competition with clear start and end dates, competition factors, and incentives then stick to it! Consider starting competitions/challenges on the first of the month and ending on the last day of the month. By doing so, you'll be able to easily monitor competition data points, such as the leaderboard (keep in mind the leaderboard class tab resets each month).

-Visual, Visual, Visual - make a conscious effort to promote your competition/challenge visually. Reserve whiteboard/wall space to chart progress and recognize students. Display class points and update regularly to keep competitive spirits ignited. Recognize students throughout the competition/challenge period through verbal praise (MVP of the week, most improved of the week, etc) and whiteboard/wall space where student names can be placed onto once they reach certain thresholds.

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DON'Ts

- Don't mandate that every student must participate. Instead, gain student buy-in.

- Don't focus only on total student points or number of activities completed. Instead, focus on quality of work (scores, mastery level, color indicator)

- Don't change the competition mid-stream, changing the target, start/stop dates, or incentives. Instead, stick with the plan full steam ahead.

- Don't expect students to be excited about the competition/challenge, if you aren't.

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Have you had success with a Penda competition/challenge in your classroom or school? We'd love to hear what made it a success, your list of DOs and DON'Ts, and learn from expert Penda teachers in the field. Write us via email at Support@PendaLearning.com to share your competition/challenge experience.

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CREATE YOUR OWN PENDA ACTIVITIES WITH PENDA SHARE! As a teacher you have your own way of approaching different topics in the curriculum. That’s why we’ve created Penda SHARE — a teacher-friendly tool that allows you to create your very own Penda activities.

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Penda infuses gamification and game mechanics to authentically engage students' emotionally during learning. Students complete each Penda activity from start to finish and are awarded points based upon their achievement. Student receive points for their efforts in completing the activity as well as points for answering questions correctly on their first attempt. While students can complete any activity as many times as they wish for practice, they only earn points during their first three attempts.

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POINTS EARNED FROM EACH ACTIVITY:

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March CONTENT Madness at Penda Learning! Just deployed on March 26, 2017:

• Improvements to FL MAFS & NGSSS Penda activity alignments

• Activity improvements to 30 science and 10 math activities commenced in January 2017. As ongoing work, Penda Learning’s Content Development Team regularly evaluates activities for alignment to state standards, activity design, content accuracy, question complexity/rigor, and multiple response mechanisms that align to computer-based high stakes assessments. Activity improvements are being made to keep Penda’s library relevant and up-to-date. The first set of 40 improved activities were released on March 26, 2017.

• 43 new science activities were created by Penda Learning and...

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